This past week we watched a storm devastate our city. We felt the weight of the sky bearing down on us, reminding us that in some ways we are powerless. During the days after the winds died down, we spent almost all of our time feeling thankful that we had our lives and our loved ones, despite what was lost.
It was a reminder that the ways we feel and express our gratitude for life must be purposeful and can be grand.
We can gather in a place where the roof is high enough so that the weight of the world doesn’t sit directly on our heads and shoulders. And we can fill that high ceiling with song to show that we have the power of grace to return to the sky. As Adam Arcuragi did this past Spring in a chapel in Harlem when we met him there to record. His message of gratitude for life gives a perfect sense of calm in this week of uncertainty.
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Two doors on an unassuming block in Harlem open to reveal a splendid church turned into a home. All instruments are laid down to reveal the human voice in all of its vulnerability and glory. Some beautiful things, usually hidden, are revealed all at once.
Adam Arcuragi has a churchgoer’s understanding of how to sing praise, how to surrender fear and fill up the immense space with feeling, to lift the spirit closer to its devotion. He has nearness in mind when he plunges into “How Can I Keep from Singing?” unaccompanied except for the natural reverb in the vaulted room.
We felt so close to Adam’s bare voice that we became aware of the nearness of the ceiling to our heads, and when we took the finished acetate outside to the garden to listen, we felt the sky close to our faces and the nearness of a time long gone.
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Dearest thanks to Michel for his generosity and hospitality.
Thanks to all who were able to join us at City Winery on Sunday, May 20. It was beautiful to see our New York Series artists take the stage together to celebrate the shared experience of field recording. And we couldn’t have been more honored to have Marshall Crenshaw join us onstage to record a 78 acetate live with the stage monitors silenced and the eyes of the audience upon him. It was a most moving moment in a night filled with many a momentous feeling.
We’ve posted photos from the show on our Facebook here. And you can listen to the digitized versions of Marshall’s acetates, “More Pretty Girls Than One,” and “Passing Through” below.
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